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The Bundesliga Title Race


Is this the Most Competitive Title Race in Recent History?

The German Bundesliga has long been perceived as one of Europe’s least competitive leagues, with Bayern Munich winning 11 consecutive titles. Borussia Dortmund were the last team to prevent them from winning the title in 2012.

However, this season may see a new team written into the history books, with Bayern currently sitting in third and a number of teams enjoying impressive starts to the campaign. Of course, it is early days, but it is shaping up to be one of the most exciting Bundesliga title races in quite some time.

Last season, Bayern prevailed, though it came down to the final day. Dortmund had held a place at the top of the table for most of the season, but a poor run of form at the business end of the campaign saw them miss out on goal difference as the champions took advantage to claim another championship.

This year, there are five points separating five teams, including a surprise in Stuttgart, who sit second with 21 points. Leading the way is Bayer Leverkusen, with usual contenders Borussia Dortmund and Bayern Munich occupying third and fourth respectively. RB Leipzig are lurking just behind.

Header logoBundesliga

Team logoLeverkusen
Team logoStuttgart
Team logoBayern München
Last updated 28/05/2024

Is this Bayer Leverkusen’s Year?

Currently sitting top of the league is Bayer Leverkusen, managed by footballing legend and Spanish maestro Xabi Alonso. They have made a dominant start to the season, winning seven of their first eight games, the sole draw a hard-fought point away at Bayern. They sit one point clear of second place Stuttgart and two clear of Bayern. Not only do the results look impressive, but their excellent performances make them worthy of their league position.

It is a marked improvement on last year, where they finished sixth, 21 points off the top. However, this does not tell the full story of what was a rollercoaster of a season for the club, a journey which makes their current success all the more impressive.

Having finished the 21/22 season in third place, there was plenty of optimism heading into the new campaign. Three successive losses to open up the season was a sign of things to come, and coach Gerardo Seoane was dismissed after just eight games. Sitting second from bottom, Leverkusen turned to the inexperienced Alonso to turn their fortunes around.

A 4-0 win against Schalke began his tenure, though defeats to Frankfurt and Leipzig made for a mixed start. They began to pick up form prior to the Winter break and slowly climbed the table sitting in 12th. Improvements continued through the New Year, with Alonso guiding his side to as high as sixth by match day 29. This is where they remained until the end of the season, securing European football for this season. They also made it to the semi-finals of the Europa League before being knocked out by Roma. Perhaps the highlight of this run of form was a big home win vs Bayern Munich.

Their turnaround meant that they entered this campaign with high confidence, and so far have exceeded the expectations of everyone. Alonso has managed to turn a sinking ship into a genuine title contender. They also enjoyed a strong transfer window, signing Granit Xhaka, Jonas Hoffman and last season’s Europa League top scorer Victor Boniface from Union Saint-Gilloise. The striker has already scored seven goals in his first eight games. The imminent return of Patrick Schick will also be a timely boost.

Whilst the squad is filled with talent, their success would not be possible without the tactical nous and man management of Alonso. He has played under many greats such as Pep Guardiola, Jose Mourinho and Carlo Ancelotti, and his experience with them has certainly played a big part in how he approaches his coaching, improving each phase of play both in and out of possession. This has made Leverkusen one of the most entertaining teams to watch in Germany.

Still unbeaten, their 22 points has seen them make the best Bundesliga start in their history, and they have scored an incredible 25 goals in the process.

Harry Kane’s Golden Boot Challenge

Following Harry Kane’s £86m move to Bayern Munich from Tottenham Hotspur in the summer, there was no doubt he would hit the ground running for Thomas Tuchel’s side.

So, it comes as no surprise that he has made a hot start to the season, already scoring nine goals in his first eight Bundesliga appearances for the club. His excellent early form has made him one of the frontrunners for the Golden Boot, and whilst this was to be expected, it is the man he is chasing for the award who many have now got their eyes on.

Stuttgart’s Serhou Guirassy is perhaps a name few had heard of prior to this season, but his performances on the pitch are making people take notice. The 27-year-old striker has made an electric start to the new campaign and currently has 14 goals in just eight games. It has recently been reported that his contract has a release clause of €17.5m keeping a lot of big clubs on high alert.

This is Guirassy’s second season in the Bundesliga, having signed permanently with Stuttgart this summer following a loan from Rennes. Although this is the season he has truly burst onto the scene, he had a solid year last season, scoring 11 goals in 22 games for the German outfit.

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How Many Goals did it Take to win Last Season’s Golden Boot?

Last season, the Golden Boot was shared by two players, Niclas Füllkrug of Werder Bremen and Christopher Nkunku of RB Leipzig, who scored 16 goals each.

Nkunku scored his 16 goals in 25 games, whilst Füllkrug did it in 28 appearances. The performances of both players earned them moves to bigger clubs, Nkunku moving to the Premier League with Chelsea, where he is yet to make his debut due to injury, and Füllkrug staying in Germany with Borussia Dortmund. Whilst Nkunku’s success is yet to be determined, his fellow Golden Boot winner has made a slow start to the new season. In eight games, the German has scored just twice, and it is perhaps safe to say that he will not be in contention to retain his award from last season.

Kane and Guirassy are already well on their way to smashing that tally, with the latter just two goals behind, less than a quarter of the way into the season.